Friday, September 14, 2012

FTL: Faster than Light

The bane of my existence right now is Kickstarter. I actually have to stay off of it most days because I know that I'm going to find something that I like and I'll want to dump some money into supporting it. My particular weaknesses are the games, both board and computer. I want to get them all!

Case in point: FTL: Faster than Light. On the surface, it looks like a throwback to "simpler times." The graphics aren't complex. Neither is the sound. And yet, this game is a lot of addicting fun.

You are in charge of a starship, one with a vital mission. The Rebels are going to wipe out your government, but you have the battle plans that reveal the weakness of their massive flagship. You must get your plucky crew across a randomly generated galaxy to do battle with the flagship. While you go, you collect scrap, missiles, drone parts, and fuel. You upgrade your ship with new systems and weapons. You pick up Sounds easy? Guess again.

This game is hard. Extremely hard. As in, I've played this game dozens of times and only beaten it three or four times, and each time, it's surprised me. The enemy gets progressively harder, but the final boss is a beast. Worse, there's no way to save the game to go back if you make a mistake. There is a brutal learning curve to this game and it is still a blast. Ever since I backed FTL on Kickstarter, I've had access to the beta. The additional features that have snuck into the game as they worked on it has made it awesome. This is a great game and a challenging one to boot. It's worth the investment.


Bainespal said...

I'm thrilled to read a review of a non-mainstream game! Thank you.

It sounds like this game has great replay value. I really like games with some randomly generated elements, but still with a definite story. Is FTL an RPG, or is maybe some kind of open-world space simulator, or something?

John said...

It's not really an RPG. You can upgrade your ship's systems and your crew members do level up, but you don't have a lot of control over who or why. What I've read is that this is "rogue-like," but I'm not sure what that means exactly. Still, it's a lot of fun and it's on sale on Steam right now.

Bainespal said...

Sorry to have made you answer a question; I visited the link a moment after I typed the comment and read about FTL for myself. Thanks again for the great review.

I have some experience with rougelikes. Traditional rougelikes are RPGs with randomly-generated dungeon levels and simple graphics rendered from colored ASCII text. The player character is represented by the "@" symbol. FTL isn't like that, so by calling it a "rougelike," the creators probably meant that it has some of the same design characteristics of the old rougelikes, such as the randomly-generated content, perhaps.